According to Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, Vaziri Hamaneh, the Iranian oil minister, announced on Wednesday that Iran is ready to launch its oil bourse next week after an unexplained delay in March.
The Iranian Oil Bourse (IOB) is a new energy trading centre, like the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) and London's International Petroleum Exchange (IPE). The difference is that while NYMEX and IPE trade petroleum exclusively for United States dollar denominated assets, the IOB will trade petroleum for Euros.
While some analysts (including yours truly) have speculated that this threatens dollar hegemony by reducing the foreign demand for dollars, Hamaneh denied that he has stated the IOB will bring down the US economy.
"I don't know who has speculated that," Hamaneh said. "I've not talked about US economy [sic]."
It remains unclear what, if any, affect the IOB will have on oil markets. However, Russia has recently made some noises that indicate both economic support for trading oil in euros and diplomatic support for Iran.
The wild card is Europe. It would benefit from an orderly shift of oil trading from dollars exclusively to a basket of currencies including the Euro, but is also wary of Iran becoming a regional hegemon, especially if it is, in fact, attempting to acquire nuclear weapons.
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